Birthdays on August 4
Birth of James Chalmers. He became an avid explorer, a missionary to the Cook Islands (off New Guinea) an educator of the native church, an opponent of efforts to westernize the natives, and a martyr. He and his party of missionaries were bludgeoned to death while visiting a new region.
John Eliot was born at Widford, England. Educated at Cambridge, he was persuaded to sail to America in 1631, to pastor a small group of Puritans. The next year he began a lifelong ministry in Roxbury, Massachusetts. One of the Indians captured in the Pequot War of 1637 was assigned to Eliot as a bond servant. Drawing on the linguistic training he had received at Cambridge university, Eliot learned the Indian language and mastered the intricacies of its grammar. Within ten years he was preaching to the Indians in their language and working on a translation of the Bible. The result was the first first Bible printed in North America (1661-1663). Eliot believed that Indians were best suited to carry the gospel to their own people, so he carefully trained twenty four Indians as preachers. Because of his tireless efforts among the Indians, Eliot was given the title "Apostle to the Indians."